Three films about…animals: Angry Birds (2016), Cats (2019) and Pet Sematary (2019)

Barnaby Page
11 min readJun 3

Why am I writing about these movies now?

Well, I’m moving my back catalogue of movie (and occasionally TV) reviews from another site to Medium — covering many of the best-known releases of the last decade, as well as more obscure fare. To make it a bit more fun, I’ll be grouping them thematically (as here), but unless I spot actual errors I’m not doing any editing…so my opinion may have changed since I first wrote them!

My reviews of new cinema, streaming and disc releases, as well as retrospectives on old (and not-so-old) classics, will mostly continue to appear on the Medium publication Frame Rated.

Anyway, here goes. Enjoy…

Angry Birds

Angry Birds is a very odd film. A thin, colourful and somewhat meandering tale of the birds from the hit smartphone game, it does have kid appeal in a slapstick way — we went with an eight-year-old who is not particularly a gamer, who I imagine would rate it as fair-to-middling — and even provides mild adult appeal through a few slightly lame gags. (There is one momentary, hilarious reference to The Shining.)

But it is impossible to escape a persistent if rather unfocused political flavour to it — vaguely Tea Partyish, and appropriately more angry than constructive.

The giveaway, of course, is the cliff-dwelling eagle bearing an unmistakeable resemblance to the American national emblem, who the birds have believed to be their mighty saviour…until they actually meet him and discover him to be doddery, self-indulgent and uninterested. Rarely has a metaphor for the federal government been so blatant, unless you count the pompous bird-judge who is not nearly as imposing as he seems, literally standing on the shoulders of a hapless worker.

But then you start to see it throughout the film. Though descended (as it’s pointed out) from fierce dinosaurs, the birds of the film are powerless, flightless, and quietly downtrodden. Anger, rocking the boat, horrifies them.

Naive and unaware of the rest of the world, they are seduced by cheery-talking pigs who promise fun and parties — but really want to steal away (corrupt?) their young. (Foreign pigs at that, which…

Barnaby Page

Barnaby is a journalist based in Suffolk, UK. By day he covers science and public policy; by night, film and classical music. He has also been a cinema manager.